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Celebrating Public Service

It is important to pause occasionally and recognize the importance of the public service. Always under scrutiny and facing a never-ending list of complex challenges in a continuously changing environment, public service requires true dedication, life-long learning and effective stakeholder engagement. Elected officials rely on the non-partisan expertise of the public service, and recent turbulent times only magnified the value of the service at all levels of government. Our receptions hosted at the Ontario Legislative Building and the Art Gallery of Ontario have provided opportunities to bring together elected officials, public servants and students for an exchange of ideas and reflections on the work in service of the public.

Man in formal attire stands at podium while giving presentation and standing in front of York University public policy program branded posters
Minister Bethlenfalvy

Celebrating Public Service

On March 26, 2019, we hosted our annual Queen’s Park reception in celebration of public service at the Royal Ontario Museum. This non-partisan event brings together elected officials, public sector and non-profit employees, faculty and students from the School to take a brief pause from the every-day challenges facing the public service, and recognize the important work of those who answer the call to serve. Attendees included Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board, YorkU president Rhonda Lenton, chancellor Greg Sorbara and former YorkU president Ian Macdonald, among many important PPA alumni.

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The focus of this year’s reception was policy priorities in support of children and youth. Professor and Director Alena Kimakova noted the work of Irwin Elman, the first Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth of Ontario, had served as an inspiration for the theme of the event based on the recommendation of a Master of Public Policy, Administration and Law (MPPAL) student who worked in his office and had the opportunity to observe his work first-hand. Other attendees included the Hon. Sophie Kiwala, Member of Provincial Parliament for Kingston and the Islands, Aretha Constant, Director of Integrity Operations at Employment and Social Development Canada, Julia Deans, CEO of Futurpreneur Canada, the Hon. David Zimmer, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation and many PPA alumni.

This year SPPA marks 10 years since the establishment of the School and its Master of Public Policy, Administration and Law (MPPAL) program. Speakers included YorkU chancellor Greg Sorbara, the Hon. Steven Del Duca, Jim Pine, chief administrative officer of the County of Hastings and co-chair of the ONWARD Initiative and Jane Wedlock, manager, Public Affairs at United Way Toronto & York Region.

This event, held in the Ontario Legislature Dining Room, provided York’s SPPA students with an opportunity to meet and connect with senior public officials, MPPs and their own program alumni. It also provided SPPA faculty and staff an opportunity to develop connections and bonds between the Ontario government elected and appointed officials. It was an exemplary networking event like none other, and one that participants will long remember. Over 100 guests – including undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, community partners and MPPs – were in attendance.

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